[The Rewatch] The Naked Now

Notes from Neurospace:
Illuminating in a museum, I’m always a little wistful when an exhibit closes. I have spent time learning about and revering these artifacts to better engage the patrons who have come to experience them with me, and I always miss them when they go, the way I miss a colleague who moves on to a new and better opportunity. In the book, Wisdom Sits in Places, we learn about how the Western Apache revere knowledge and history, and how, in sitting in a place and hearing of the events that occurred there, we become part of the event. Even if hundreds of years have passed, by looking at the places where fingers have plucked strings, or hands have crafted textiles, we become a part of the event for which these objects were made, and we stand beside their creators for a moment, sharing the same planet for a while. So when it is time to say goodbye, I console myself by remembering that they will be displayed in another museum somewhere, where someone new will take them to heart and become a part of their history, as I have.

This Friday, April 14th, I’ll be returning to my Illuminator duties at the Museum of Popular Culture to say goodbye to the Pearl Jam – Home And Away exhibit that we have been honored to host for 5 years. I hope you can join us that evening at 6:30 PM as we screen original concert footage in the Sky Church, and take in the artifacts again before they begin the journey to their next destination.

Now, on with The Rewatch!

This episode was one of the first things to make me truly uncomfortable in my adolescence. It was a while into my Trek viewing before this one made it into the syndication rotation – my station didn’t really care about showing the episodes in sequence order. A lot of the elements of intoxication, as presented here, are things that make me anxious about the unpredictability of other humans overall.

But, to this day, I would give a whole appendage to have Denise Crosby’s abs. An appendage I use regularly.

I was aware when I saw it that the episode was an homage to the original series, likely proposed to help tie it to the general tone of the original. But, as I hadn’t seen any original series episodes at this point in my viewing, I was just left to wonder what the heck. A lot of what the heck. Nothing short of a full rundown helps me make sense of this thing:

Again, with apologies, this contains spoilers for a 35 year old American television program. I am so very sorry.

They show up to aid the Tsiolkovsky (whose name I can never spell on my own, even though I watch the show with captions), because they’re getting weird messages from it that sound like if Tinder had a voice chat feature. When they arrive, the whole ship has been wrecked like the last days of Circuit City.

Data calls it a wild party, proving that no one invited him to parties at the academy

Everyone who hasn’t been “blown out” (thank you Data) into space has been frozen by the sabotaged environmental controls.

Though they managed to die with some respect for modesty.

After Geordi catches a corpse, he gets infected with the T-Virus and heads back to the ship, which goes full Britney Spears Sex Riot in a matter of milliseconds, because they can’t keep track of a junior grade lieutenant who’s violently sweating and mouthing off to superior officers.

Geordi just hops on out of Sickbay, and finds Wesley so he can contribute to the delinquency of a minor. They both become fascinated by technology that we’re already bored with in the 21st century.

“It can trick the computers into thinking the captain’s talking! This definitely isn’t the most dangerous thing on this ship!”

Geordi eventually wanders off to start the drunken wailing portion of his inebriation alone in a conference room or something, where he’s finally intercepted by Tasha. Geordi infects her, and her body somehow allows it to mutate into a sexually transmitted disease. Tasha uses her newfound lack of inhibition to just waltz right into Troi’s quarters and start going through her closet. This should fill everyone on the ship with confidence in their Chief of Security.

As the bridge crew finds the logs from the last time an Enterprise had to deal with Aggravated Frat Boy Syndrome, Wesley shows off more of his incredibly dangerous toys to his mother, who leaves him alone with them even though he’s showing clear symptoms of being infected with/inebriated by whatever the heck this thing is. He proceeds to wander down to engineering, infect everyone in the department, and then lock everyone out of the ship with his dangerous toys like a kid changing the Wi-Fi password because his parents took away his Switch.

Like it’s hard?

As all protocol and reason breaks down, they get word that their Chief of Security is starting the No-Pants revolution, and they send a literal sex machine to go find her for some reason. And then he gets drunk, too. Amazing. You can trust us, this is science.

We respect this forever.

Meanwhile, Troi wanders off to find Riker with her freshly contracted case of the panting hots. As the last responsible man on the ship, Riker immediately takes her to sickbay. Contrast this with Data, who went full scale free love the moment Tasha showed him a lampshade with a scarf over it.

“I think we should see other people.”

Picard starts to talk Wesley down, proving once again that he’s great with kids and just doesn’t trust himself, Beverly starts to develop the preliminary symptoms of the panting hots and drags Picard back into his office for malfeasance. Picard gets infected in real time, and makes a cough noise that no one on twitter has been able to explain or recreate.

I have to think, given how quickly he gets taken down, that Chateau Picard has virtually 0% alcohol content.

Watching Wesley and the engineers sit in the pile of scattered control chips that used to be the guts of Engineering, I realize that a lot of Gen-Z kids will look at it and just readily assume it’s some kind of future-y computer nonsense. They won’t immediately recognize the homage to punch card computing.

Again, I crumble into dust.

They get Drunk Data to put the chips back, which he says will take slightly more time than they have. Riker, having held out until the climax of the third act, finally starts to show symptoms of inebriation, because he is a mighty man. But while they sweat, Wesley solves their countdown problem with one of this toys, just as his mother comes up with an antidote. Three cheers for the Crushers!

Way to go solving a problem you caused, Wesley!

Once they’ve all sobered up, Tasha gives Data one of the more hardcore brushoffs in television history. I know that she has a lot of reputation to salvage, and is frankly traumatized by her own behavior, but as an autistic person, it’s rough to watch. Data didn’t know what to do in the moment, and he clearly doesn’t know what he’s done wrong. (Nothing. He’s done nothing wrong.)

“Data, I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone about my busy hands. Not so much for myself, but I am so respected, it would damage the town to hear it. Good night!”

And, with a quip about avoiding temptation in the future, the episode draws to a close.

“Alright, lets head back home for the court martial.”

I’ve been studying molecular biology for a little while now, and I still don’t understand how this space intoxication thing was supposed to work. “Complex water molecules” combined with carbon from the body acting on the brain like alcohol? This was some of the first evidence to my young mind that sometimes people string a bunch of science-y words together and you don’t get that they don’t make any sense until you’re on your way home from the physics seminar and realize that guy didn’t have a nametag or a duck.

It makes as much sense as the rest of the episode.

This weekend, join us for the livetweet discussion as we stream episodes at home on Paramount+
Join @TOSSatNight for Star Trek – Season 3, Episode 15: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

Followed by Star Trek – The Animated Series – Season 2, Episode 2: Bem
Then on Sunday, join us as we continue the TNG journey and take in Season 1, Episode 4: Code of Honor

My earnest thanks to Cignus-X1 for their repository of Star Trek Screen Caps. You are gentlefolk and scholars.

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